Hired for Hospice

About a year ago I got interested in hospice after a classmate, a church member, and a client’s baby died.  Follow that my cousin died.  I was curious about the process of working with a family as they are preparing for a loved one’s death, as well as the grief and loss process.  My research began in pediatric hospice, as I felt unprepared to support a young mom who was dealing with her baby’s death (she was just weeks old).  Hospice and palliative care is a philosophy of care that focuses on caring for a patient rather than curing an illness or disease with an overall goal of enabling people to live as fully and comfortably as possible.  I asked University of Southern California to place me in hospice for my concentration year field placement because I wanted to make sure it was a good fit.

In April of 2012 I started working at Signature Services in Eugene Oregon.  We grew from about 30 patients to about 55 currently and I’m told that once I have that diploma and the census is up to 75 I’ll be hired on as a full time social worker.  I’ve been asked, what does a hospice social worker do?  We can help clients get on Medicare/Medicaid, Meals on Wheels, placements from home to nursing homes or assisted living or foster homes, caregiver support, assistance with power of attorney or health care power of attorney, funeral planning, assistance with veteran’s benefits or senior and disabled services, assessing for elder abuse, emotional support for the client and their family, helping take pets to animal shelters, care conferences with multiple staff support people, I’ve checked out audio books at the library, gone on walks, advocated for bucket list items, filled out organ donor forms, and I’ve helped move belongings from one place to another.  I see my goal is to start where the client is, and to assist them when at all possible to help them close this chapter in their life as peacefully and as dignified as possible.

Folks have commented on how hard this work must be, and while it can be sad for me to say goodbye, it really is an honor.  First of all, I love to learn about the story of a person’s life and secondly, when they die, they are no longer suffering.  I have worked with too many clients, who while they may have been better off after receiving services provided by the agency I was working for – it is likely those clients’ lives would continue to be complicated by past traumas and life obstacles.  And I still had to say goodbye.

Last week I was offered a part-time position at Signature!  I’ll be supporting staff as an office assistant for the time being, as I finish up my last semester of graduate school.  I feel so blessed this month and excited about the future. Today, I got my photo id card so I feel “official.”  IMGP3529

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About jasminerose

Social Worker, Critter Lover, Amateur Photo Taker, Writer, Crafter, & Creator. View all posts by jasminerose

4 responses to “Hired for Hospice

  • Todd Peterson

    Wonderful news, Jasmine! Your courageous decision to leave your past employer looks even more like a very smart move today. Best wishes for your new part-time position which will be a full time hospice social worker job soon I expect.

    • jasminerose

      Thank you Todd! Feel very blessed to have taken that leap of faith, to live in the grey where plans were not carefully drawn out. One of the biggest decisions I’ve made in my life and glad I can say I have no regrets.

  • Brian Overholt

    So glad to hear things are going well!… and that you’ve found something you really feel fulfilled doing. So important.

    And hospice is such an important role. Having worked at one time for a Pulmonary Services company, serving patients that needed oxygen… most of our patients were in the twilight of their lives, and the need for that kind of care was very apparent.

    Here’s hoping your last year of school goes smoothly, and leads to a long and rewarding career.

    Way to go!

    • jasminerose

      Thank you so much Brian! I don’t think I knew you worked for a pulmonary services company in the past. I’ve gathered your new job and home are a welcomed change and I was so happy to hear you found such a good fit of your skills and passion. Eager to hear about the arrival of your baby girl (January girls are the best!). While I didn’t get to work with you long enough, I’m so glad we did get the time we had together and blessed to have had the chance to know your family and be a small part of your journey. Stay in touch (please!).

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